13-12 win over Pioneer puts Northville Mustangs in state semifinals
When you have an uncanny ability to score goals, thereâs a big target that hangs over your back.
For Northville senior Emma Dietrich, that pressure was evident in Fridayâs 13-12 MHSAA Division 1 regional final victory over Ann Arbor Pioneer, which was hosted at Novi.
Despite being guarded heavily by the Pioneersâ defense, Dietrich scored a team-high four goals and tallied an assist, which included a three-goal effort in the first half alone.
Her first marker made it a 4-2 affair less than 11 minutes into the contest, before adding a pair right before halftime.
Taking a pass from classmate Sarah Chase, Dietrich sent the ball past netminder Landon Harsch with 1:17 remaining, before upping the lead to 10-4 just 17 seconds later upon taking the faceoff.
While Dietrichâs outstanding effort was on full display, she drew some attention from the least likely of sources â the officials, who performed a stick check and declared that it did indeed meet the legal requirements and wasnât a magic wand of sorts.
Such a gesture may be simplistic by nature and a mere routine part of the game, but it served as the perfect metaphor for this Mustangs squad, who just last year were eliminated by this very same team in the regional semifinal.
If you want to succeed, you have to measure-up to the competition and who better than a Pioneer squad that has been to the state finals on four occasions.
âWeâve never been this far before as a program, so I think we were really motivated for one â to beat Ann Arbor Pioneer because weâve never beaten them before, and two â to win a regional championship because weâve never done that either,â Dietrich said.
Northville’s Emma Dietrich (left) fires a shot past Pioneer goalie Landon Harsch (right) as …more
The victory puts the Mustangs (15-3) into the state semifinals for the first time in school history beginning at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 7 in East Lansing against Rockford (17-2).
Northville cored on 11 of 12 shots in the first half, the last of which came courtesy of sophomore Jessica Tardich off a pass from behind the net by Kendall Wasik.
âWe have a lot of different options that can score for us,â Northville coach Dan Madigan said. âWe have a lot of girls that can take over the game and we were moving the ball, feeding the ball well and we were finding a lot of openings.â
Undeterred, Ann Arbor Pioneer (9-11-1) was able to sneak one in before time expired to make it 11-5, which came on a shot by Davney Holley that was set-up by Karleigh Marable.
Four minutes into the second half, Northville found the net again, this time on a feed down low from senior Alethia Blough as freshman Ella Tarasi came streaking toward the net.
The Northville girls lacrosse team is all smiles after capturing the MHSAA Division 1 regional.
Marable, who finished with a team-high seven goals, would answer the challenge shortly thereafter by completing her first hat trick on an unassisted effort to cut the deficit in half.
This would set-off the first of five consecutive goals for the Pioneers, who trailed 12-10 after Marable scored on a wrap-around to complete her second hat trick with less than 10 minutes left in the contest.
âThat goal at the end of the first half gave us a little bit of momentum,â Ann Arbor Pioneer coach Zach Maghes said. âWe changed up our defense to a little bit more high pressure, which obviously was effective. We had some success early and some draw wins and fed off that.â
It wasnât much longer until Northville answered, as junior Charlotte Beaudoin centered the ball with pin-point accuracy into the catch radius of Dietrich, who fired a bullet into the back of the net on what would be the eventual-game winner.
The Pioneers inched themselves closer into forcing overtime with scores from Holley and Marable in the final six minutes, but the Mustangs were able to pass the ball around enough to prevent any sort of comeback in the final moments.
âWe wanted it and we wanted it really bad,â said Chase, who finished with a goal and two assists. âOur heart came above skill and talent and we just went out there and fought.â
Holley pitched in three goals for Ann Arbor Pioneer, followed by a pair from senior Celia Ayers.
Other major contributors for Northville were Wasik (three goals, one assist) and Beaudoin and Tardich, who each tallied two goals and a helper.
Meanwhile, goalie Kat Weissert made four saves.
âItâs an unbelievable group of girls and theyâve dedicated themselves since the offseason that they wanted to take the next step,â said Madigan. âThe seniors are great, the captains are great and itâs a great group.â
By Tom Morelli